• jed goodright October 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    we know

  • George Berger October 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    This is excellent, but contains one serious error. It is not the BPS Model that is used, but a distorted modification of it. About a month ago I read Dr George Engel’s original paper on the model. It stresses the joint use if biomedical, psychological, and social factors when discussing or treating illness. Today only the latter is used, and in a reduced form at that. Work capability is stressed as *the* major or even sole social factor. Then a notion of “good work” is used, where “good” can be defined at will. It is this that allows the assessments to be no more than a fixed series of *fixed* descriptors: these specify the notion of “good,” which is hence deprived of all moral and indeed most social, content. The fixity allows anyone to administer the tests. *This* is why qualified medical, psychological, and social persons need not be used to do this job. I doubt that Dr Engel would approve if he were still with us.

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Mr. Goodright. You and others might know, but I am pretty sure that others don’t. So thanks a lot for you curt comment. i am doing what I have been payed for doing since I got my doctorate in philosophy, in 1971: analysing, that is, thinking clearly. It’s what one prominent person in Black Triangle accused me of, falsely: he told me to stop lecturing him. I did. I blocked him. If people cannot think clearly, or listen to those who can, the game’s over.

  • Mo Stewart November 1, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Interesting. The only people who ever claim to find errors in my work are academics who totally miss the point…

    Please be advised that the people who are suffering have no interest in the original theory of the BPS model – we all actually DO know that this is a bastardisation of what was intended, but that is exactly why chronically sick and disabled people are dying following a totally bogus ‘medical assessment.’

    I am unaware of any ‘curt comment’ as none is published. Do please continue to think clearly and totally miss the point.

  • jed goodright November 1, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Mr Berger
    Don’t patronise me or others.
    We know means WE KNOW – we are on the front line of global fascism.
    I too have worked tirelessly, in poor health, for decades not just academically, and I think clearly and listen and actually challenge the status quo.
    You do not have the monopoly on anything!

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 7:37 am

    The curt comment was by Mr Goodright (but I wonder if that’s his real name), and, Mo, neither of you have told me what point I have missed. Finally, I am sure there are disabled people who can benefit by analyses such as mine. Of course I have no monopoly on anything. But in fact, although the article on the Two Models is quite good, it offers no analysis of the BPS model in its original and perverted forms. That’s what got me interested in it. I prefer to think before I act, and indeed while I am acting. For as Bertrand Russell said, “Most people would rather die than think; in fact they do so.” But heck, I suppose that my having been born and fully educated in America precludes me from participation in any battle with global fascism.

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Oh yes. I forgot to mention one point. There is a difference, Joe, between being patronising and explaining. One person here on the Continent told me that I am “an intellectual in the sense of Lenin.” I asked him what that meant, and was told that I was telling working people things that they don’t know but need to know. I felt honoured. But since the person was a Stalinist I thought (in my analytical mind), “Yes, and after you win the revolution you wish to have, you will shoot me in the neck if I do not toe your ideological party line.” That, Mo and Jed, is where dogmatism instead of humane understanding, leads.

  • joe kane November 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Take no notice of Berger. He goes around UK disability forums harassing people with his gibberish about how the purity of Engel’s and his biopsychosocial model has been diluted and polluted. I mean, so what? BPS is so all encompassing which means it’s also utterly vague, and therefore useless when it comes to the real world. It means whatever anybody want’s it to mean which really means its utter codswallop to start with.

    BPS = Biology, psychology, society – this would have to mean that anyone treating patients properly would have to be a qualified and experienced expert in biology, psychology and sociology. To take one of those, funnily enough, the Aylward-Wessely school of disability denial do make claims to be experts in sociology, but have no qualifications in it, and are totally out of their depth when discussing it in public.

    Here is the wonderful Gill Thorburn skewering the sociological pretentious of patient-hater Prof Simon Wessely, probably the most hated doctor in the UK (according to the Guardian) and a pseud0-academic just like his very close colleague Mansel Aylward –
    Professor Wessely: Knocking the Docs & Overstepping the Mark
    down with all that
    25 Oct 2012

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Thanks Mr Kane, for deleting my last comment, in which I actually agreed with you. Without knowledge we are lost. Some knowledge is vague at the beginning, but can often be made more precise and hence useful. The penultimate paragraph of your post right above this one, is almost my conclusion . It would take a team of at least three differently qualified persons to properly assess anyone. I think that ATOS cannot do this, since it would be expensive. That would reduce their profits. I doubt that what I have just written is ”gibberish,” because if it is, so is what you have just written (given that we agree on this point). Finally, as you probably know, I do not go “around UK disability forums….” But enough of this nonsense: for me it’s time to learn a bit more about the foundations of mathematics, whilst listening to the elegant music of Haydn.

  • Gill Thorburn November 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Would just like to say that, I too researched BPS theory for my writings 🙂 since I didn’t feel I could criticise it until I had. I was trying to be academically fair, as we do. I know there are academics who don’t even consider it’s original form to be a valid approach to illness. For myself I think it is exceedingly utopian in nature. It depends upon a different societal structure to the one we have in the West, one in which there would be layer upon layer of support that anyone could tap into according their needs, whether they be biological, psychological or social. That structure is so far from existing that the idea that it could be implemented in these days of ‘austerity’ and cuts to *all* services is risible.

    As I’ve argued it is the use to which the BPS model has been put which discredits it and those propounding it. It has been used exceedingly narrowly as an argument for removing people from benefits. Its underpinning philosphy has been singularly used to stigmatise and defame those suffering from illness. It’s origin is irrelevent, since it’s philosophy bears no relation at all to the current application of it. I think we can all agree on that, Mr Berger here included.

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Hallo Gill. Thanks for the balanced reply. Exactly the kind I like. You are right about the utopian nature of Dr Engel’s model. I know one of his students personally and one person whom Engel was quite possibly implicitly criticising, the late Dr T. Szasz. Both would agree with you., I think. I wished to show, as simply as I could, how the ideas behind the model were modified for misuse. For this purpose, the model’s utopian nature does not come into play. Its omissions and distortions by others do. Especially the contraction from the social in general, to work alone and then to the notion of good work. The latter was inserted by one of the British doctors or politicians, I forget who. It was reading about that use of ‘good’ that gave me the key for a decent analysis. I think it’s important that as many patients as possible understand, at least, that ‘good work’ is crucial to the cruelty and impoverishment to which they are subjected. The same thing is happening in the Netherlands, where the notions might have come from, via America and KPMG. I cannot be sure of this. At any rate, I do believe that knowledge is power; the more a potential victim knows and understands, the better. Or so I believe.

    • Vicki November 3, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      George – small point. I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your case. I’m just asking to you to use shorter paragraphs.

      When I’m reading academic prose on the page, I expect and can deal with long sentences and paragraphs. Here on the web matters are a little different, since reading on screen is more difficult than reading things on a page. That is especially true on this (and quite a lot of other) blogs and forums where comments are displayed in small fonts and closely spaced lines.

      I used to think that the shortened paragraphs habitually used by professional websites were a concession to a dumbed-down, low-attention span generation. These days I’m afraid I find them a concession to ageing eyes and back-lit screens.

      I will also confess that I am also being robbed by disability of my ability to cope without the signposts of shorter paragraphs for the structure of arguments. In most places I reckon that the problem is mine to solve. Here on a disability forum, where fatigue, poor eyesight and concentration problems are common, I think it reasonable to ask posters to take that into account.

      Academia was once my home and I do know that this snipping into smaller segments goes against the grain for many academics. I have my own problems making things short and clear – as this post shows, I suppose!

      Academics, or anyone constructing a long but coherent argument, may feel that they have to use bigger and more convoluted paragraphs. When they do I must, reluctantly, allow their arguments to go untested – in fact unread – by me as they demand too great a ration of my limited mental energies.

      I can’t be the only one.

      • George Berger November 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

        I agree, Vicki. I’ll try to write shorter paragraphs whenever possible. Some paragraphs do need to be long, to keep one train of thought among others where it belongs. But *those* two above could and should have been split.

  • Mo Stewart November 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Well said Gill.

    Perhaps now Dr Berger may have finally grasped the point he keeps choosing to miss.

    Knowledge is power and most of us take care as to how we use it.

  • clarebelz November 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Well when all is said and debated, knowledge may be power, and I only wish I had the cognitive skills that I have lost through illness to analyse this stuff.

    But it boils down to this: it’s of no use to me when you’re facing the loss of your food budget for the month from April next year due to paying bedroom tax, council tax, and have just been informed that you will be forced to pay an extra £1500 a year for private care that the local authorities ‘don’t fund’ anymore, on top of the £3000 per year you already pay out of benefits back to the local authority for care (I have no assets or private income: free care is a myth), a care package that has just been cut by 25%, whilst the charge has not.

    The knowledge of BPS model is good to have of course, and I know I’m being a little glib about this, and thank you to those who are so diligent in their research and are trying to help, but ultimately, I’m not thinking of that right now, I just wonder how I’m going to eat when I’m 7 miles away from a food bank, I cannot use public transport, I now can’t afford to use taxis because of the extra £1500 to pay for care which along with the £3000 removes all of my DLA and disability premiums, and even if I could get there, I can only use the food bank 3 times a year!

    And, if my income is cut further under universal credit and PIP, then I’ll basically be back to the situation whereby I’m living in a home that has only water available, with no: heating, lights, loo roll, washing powder, personal hygiene items, soap, toothpaste, and invariably just bread to eat (been through this many times before).

    This is the reality. This is in the mind almost every hour of the day like a death sentence hanging over you. When you already have no quality of life to speak of, and what little you have is going to be removed it’s a living nightmare.

    I meant no offense!

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Mo, as it happens, Gill and I agree but stress different aspects of the same thing. What gets discredited is the ATOS perversion (as I think Gill means, by using “origin”), and I agree. Gill’s mentions of philosophy and origins refer to what Dr Engel wrote. She correctly emphasised Dr Engel’s utopian vision, I correctly emphasised some concepts employed in that vision.

    Ad Clarebelz, my sole aim was to get as much as possible of what I’ve learned online. Different readers have different needs and backgrounds, and can pick, choose, and use what is important to them. I too meant no offense. (Long ago I met the original calrebelz.)

  • Gill Thorburn November 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’m very glad we agree on that 😀
    I think it’s very characteristic of the intellectual group behind these reforms that they choose both to omit and ‘insert’ ideas at will with very little justification and in an unbalanced way, obviously not consdering themselves to be bound by the ethics of any of the disciplines whose concepts they choose to appropriate.

    They seek to legitimise their ‘arguments’ by appearing to draw upon an established ‘model’, but in practice it is one of their own creation, which exaggerates one feature, the psychological, towards an end of discrediting and undermining the individual’s testimony about their illness. It is glaringly unbalanced in that way. Having established this concept of individual ‘deviance’ they then set it against an abstract and idealised notion of, as you put it, ‘good work’ which bears little relation to the reality of what work has become in our advanced capitalist society; with its intensification of work practices, precarity and driven down wages that are casting more and more people into work-related illness and in-work poverty.

    Really there is enough wrong with this group’s literature to fill a book! The matter of ‘common illnesses’, whose prevalence they consider is proof that people are not really ill, rather than the more convincing argument that the conditions of modern work and ‘lifestyles’ and environmental factors are making more and more people ill – its just in different ways. We have this modern ‘myth’ raised that medical science is triumphant against all disease now, so no-one can really be ill for very long. The truth is that medical science struggles as much as it ever did to cope with the increasing effects of industrial civilisation on our health.

    What they seek to do with their re-conceptualisation of work definitely verges on cult-like propaganda. Similarly their attempts to ‘change the thinking’ of medical personnel such as GPs draws more than a little upon the methodology of brainwashing, or at the very least emotional manipulation. If they’re not seeking to get their patients back into work then they’re complicit in keeping them sick. Some of the accounts, including my own, of people’s Atos assessments suggest a kind of demeanour of those ‘healthcare professionals’ who carry them out that is dehumanised and robotic. They have to leave aside their personal and medical ethics in order to do that work. That’s a form of cognitive conditioning.

    I *have* gone on a bit there. But there is just so much wrong with it. And it’s doing so much harm 🙁

  • George Berger November 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Gill, I agree with every word.

  • Humanity2012 November 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

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    into the ” Upper ” Class

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